Artrageous after party heads to the Capitol

This year’s Artrageous after party, like many before it, will take place downtown. But by holding the event both indoors and out at the War Memorial Plaza and auditorium, organizers say that it will be more inclusive, and less club-like than in years past.

This year’s theme, Transform — Gems & Jewels, focuses on how the HIV/AIDS epidemic has evolved over the decades. And rather than focus on the negative, the event angles more toward the positive transformation of canvas to art, or gems to jewels, according to Jay Jones and Catherine Birmingham, co-chairs, who add that the locale ties into that line of thinking.

“We’d been thinking about something more upscale, something that could pull in the glamour of the 1920s, the 1950s, give us the feeling of high society, of old Hollywood,” Jones said. “And from there this whole idea took on a life of its own.”

“We wanted to move out of a club-type building, and the War Memorial Theater really lends itself to class,” added Birmingham. “We don’t have to do a lot of decorating, because it’s already so beautiful.”

In addition to outdoor dancing on the plaza, helmed by DJ Ron, the theater will house cabaret acts and be geared more towards small groups who want to sit and enjoy the music. Having two separate and distinct events bundled into one package should broaden the evening’s appeal, something that still needs to be done even after more than two decades, Jones and Birmingham said.

“The demographics of who’s attending change,” Birmingham said, “It’s not just a gay party, not a mixed party, but a party for a cause. It’s about showcasing what Nashville CARES does, which is education for children, programs at schools, the programs for adults. It’s a party, but it’s more than a party all at the same time.”

The galleries involved will help to push the theme, so that when revelers get to the plaza they’ll be primed and ready to go.

“We’re going to have a cabaret feel inside, and the great dancing outside, so there’s a good mix and a much more varied approach,” Jones said. “We’re going to have what we’ve always had before, and also have a venue that will let you chat with friends and watch a show. We think everyone’s going to have a wonderful night.”

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